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Self-Powered Window Coating Concept Changes To Block Light

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by Michael Keller

Efforts have been underway for years to develop smart windows that automatically change tint to block the sun’s heat and light from entering buildings. With more than 10 percent of all U.S. buildings’ power use dedicated to space cooling, a successful system would translate into significant energy savings. 

The first generation of these devices, called electrochromic windows, are already out on the market. The next generation will likely see more fine-tuned control of the amount of solar radiation let into buildings for light and heat management. But besides the need to bring costs down for the technology to find more customers, one issue with electrochromic windows is that they must be connected to external power sources to operate.

Now researchers in Singapore and China say they have built a glass coating that changes transparency without needing external sources of electricity. The system can also supply a small bit of energy through the chemical reaction at its core, acting like a rechargeable battery for other devices. They demonstrated their work in a laboratory proof of concept and reported their findings yesterday in a study published in the journal Nature Communications.

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Car’s Rooftop Device Makes Electricity From Rushing Wind

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by Michael Keller

There are more places for electric vehicles to get power than just onboard batteries and stationary charging stations. Korean university and Samsung engineers say they have created a generator that makes electricity from flapping materials.

Their prototype, which can be mounted to an automobile’s roof, harnesses the triboelectric effect. This is the same phenomenon that causes a static charge to build up when a person walks across a carpet or a glass rod is rubbed with silk.

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Targeting Tumors With Electricity

by Karin Heineman, Inside Science

The days of summer vacation and fun in the sun may be over for the season, but the hours spent in the sun over the last several months can take a toll on your skin. More than 120,000 new cases of melanoma, a very serious form of skin cancer, are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and if not treated early, can spread through the body.

Now, doctors are using electricity to help kill late-stage melanoma tumors.

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The world’s first 3-D printed car took to the streets this weekend after being built in an amazingly short 44 hours. The vehicle, called Strati, was designed by Italian designer Michele Anoé, who won an international competition held by crowdsourcing carmaker Local Motors.  It was printed and rapidly assembled by a Local Motors team during a manufacturing technology show held last week in Chicago, then went on a drive on Saturday. 

Strati’s chassis and body were made in one piece out of a carbon fiber-impregnated plastic on a large-area 3-D printer. The machine put down layer after layer of the material at a rate of 40 pounds per hour.

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